Anti-fracking protestors go wherever Cuomo goes

Aug 24, 2012

Whenever Governor Andrew Cuomo goes out in public these days, he seems to have a shadow. Hydrofracking foes want to keep the pressure on the governor as a decision about the controversial drilling method nears.

They were at the opening of the New York State Fair in Syracuse Thursday, but many of these protesters have seen the governor in other venues recently -- in New York City earlier this week during a policy summit; in Albany last week during the yogurt summit; and they are planning a mass action in the state capitol next Monday.

But does the chanting, singing and sign holding make a difference? John Armstrong of the statewide activist group Frack Action thinks so.

"The governor has consistently said he wants to listen to the science on this, and we have consistently had scientists, health professionals economists and leading elected officials go to the governor and say, 'there are all these concerns that haven't been addressed yet by the DEC.  You have to go through with these studies before you go through with fracking.' And we hope the governor ultimately listens to the people and the science."

Chenango County Activist Peter Hudiberg agrees that the protests are effective when it comes to reaching the governor.

"I think he's risk averse,and he's afraid to come out with a decision, and we hope he continues to postpone a decision."

These protests aren't just meant for the governor's ears. Demonstrators say they want to get the word out to the general public as well, and on that front, Danby protester Gay Garrison says they are gaining.

"Half New York wants it and half New York doesn't want it. But as time goes on the half that doesn't want it is growing fast."

The Department of Environmental Conservation will come out with a decision on whether the state should allow hydrofracking, a method of using chemically-laced water injected deep below the Marcellus Shale to release natural gas.  

Cuomo has said the decision can't be made based on emotions, but should be based on science.  Opponents suggest there haven't been enough studies to show the dangers of fracking.